(HealthDay News) — More than half of patients offered participation in cancer clinical trials are willing to participate, according to a study published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute to coincide with the ASCO Quality Care Symposium, held virtually from Oct 9 to 10.

Joseph M. Unger, PhD, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine clinical trial participation among cancer patients. A total of 35 studies were identified including 30 treatment trials and 5 cancer control trials; 9759 patients were offered trial participation.

The researchers found that 55% of patients agreed to enroll in trials. There was no difference in participation rates between the treatment and cancer control trials (55.0 vs 55.3%; P =.98). The rates of participation were similar for Black and White patients (58.4 vs 55.1%; P =.88). Treatment choice or lack of interest were the main reasons for nonparticipation.

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“These findings dramatically underscore the willingness of cancer patients to participate in a trial if one is offered. The findings also stand in stark contrast to the commonly cited statistic that only 5% of adult cancer patients participate in trials, a statistic which fails to reflect the many structural and clinical hurdles that stand in the way of trial participation for most patients,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.


Unger JM, Hershman DL, Till C, et al. “When offered to participate:” A systematic review and meta-analysis of patient agreement to participate in cancer clinical trials. J Natl Canc Inst. doi:10.1093/jnci/djaa155

Brundage MD. Revisiting barriers to clinical trials accrual. J Natl Canc Inst. doi:10.1093/jnci/djaa156